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Spring Has Sprung

May 12, 2021

Ooh, I guess it’s been a minute since I posted. It’s weird how time moves now.

I am jealous of everyone who is accomplishing things in these weird times, and a little um, upset with people who are carrying on like nothing is happening. I’m afraid we really shouldn’t go back to normal, for the sake of the planet.

I’ll try not to judge though. I am certainly looking forward to hitting with the fellas at Red Rocks in July! Fingers crossed.

Anyhow, what’s been happening? I’ve been continuing my deep listening, and finding some really revelatory reading. I’ve stumbled on some really interesting developments in my thinking, as an artist and philosopher. The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist is my current obsession, kind of an Oliver Sacks jones I guess. It turns out that the whole left brain/right brain thing has some merit, but is way more complex than when it was picked up in pop psychology in the ‘80s or whenever. Each side of the brain has a different relationship/perception with/of reality. It’s knocking me out.

Man, this fall though, I got obsessed by David Graeber. He busts some Chomsky level unpacking and decoding. He’s an anthropologist and just destroys the current economic dogma, and economics as a science all together really. (It’s going through a re-evaluation at the least.) Anyway, I think the pandemic has made (and is making plain) issues raised in his later work, and we should heed his warnings.

Every Spring I like to listen to Stravinsky’s Rite. I have a few different recordings, I kind of collect different versions, from Hubert Laws’, like, smooth classical (nine minute!) version, to a surprisingly accurate reading by the Bad Plus. A few years back we saw the Oregon Symphony do it. So sweet, there’s nothing like a real orchestra right in front of you.

For some reason that always leads me to Mingus, perhaps for their similar radicalism, or even the Russian’s influence on him. Or maybe I saw it was his birthday on facebook and remembered he has the same birthday as Paul Chambers. Wild right?

I’ve been studying this box set “Passions of a Man” - it’s all his work on Atlantic. It’s kind of wild how he jumps around labels, doing his most famous work on Columbia in between different releases on this collection. He also released stuff on his own label and on Impulse at the same time, pretty much. Crazy right? It’s a cool CD box set, with extensive notes and album covers and whatnot. But I got out my copy of “More Than a Fake Book” to check on the charts.

That helped me dig into a particular revelation, and I wrote a tune, an extended minor blues based on figurings of Mingus’ chord changes. And I recently had a breakthrough on a ballad I’ve been working on for a few years. I toyed with an extended jam in an unrelated key for the bridge, but, then felt the simplicity of an eight bar phrase was all it needed. I have the related minor blues to jam on, with an extended turn around at the end.

||: C-7 |Bb7 | F7 | Db7 :||

Love that, especially with the dominant on the Db, give you the B natural leading to the C-, giving it that minor major 7 thing if you want.

Anyhow, stepping up the practice, preparing for some special gigs here in town, and looking forward to some backyard jams before heading out to Colorado with G. Love.

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Portland OR, Sunny